Being A Student in Greenland 2016 vs 2017 – What Has Changed?

Studying in Greenland, more specifically in the capital city of Nuuk, brings a unique balance of commerce and culture, combined with stunning views and scenery. Nuuk’s embrace of both the traditional and modern can be seen in the city’s dynamic culture and way of life.

The education system in Greenland is identical to the system in place in Denmark. Thus it offers a high standard of learning, first-class facilities and a good range of extra-curricular activities. The University of Greenland (Ilisimatusarfik) is the country’s only higher education establishment and is located in the capital city of Nuuk. Most classes are taught in Danish. However, there are also a few in Greenlandic and some in English. The university has about 650 students spread across four institutions:

• Institute of Learning
• Institute of Nursing and Health Research
• Institute of Society, Economics and Journalism
• Institute of Culture, Language and History

Spaces in the university are limited, so preference is given to Greenlandic nationals. The university also has limited academic staff, so they rely heavily on guest tutors and administrators. Due to the low staff numbers, many specialised classes are often taught by guest staff who travel to Greenland from Danish universities. As a result of there being just one university in Greenland, many students seek higher education elsewhere, mainly in Denmark.

The good news for students at this university is that they do not pay tuition fees, due to the government’s policy that allows students a free university education anywhere in Europe or North America. This includes guest students who study at the university for a semester, although they are responsible for other expenses. Guest students must either be Nordic citizens or be able to prove they can use the language at an academic level, as the university does not offer full-degrees or PhD programmes in English.

Although there are no tuition fees, students are responsible for all travel, living, insurance and related study expenses. The estimated cost of living in Greenland for a single person is 5000 DKK per month (equivalent to 591 GBP). This excludes the cost of accommodation, which varies greatly. In Nuuk, student accommodation is extremely limited, especially for guest students. However, there are plenty of opportunities in the capital city of Nuuk to go shopping, eat out and join various sports clubs.

The Greenland Perspective is a research project currently underway that sees collaboration between the University of Copenhagen and the University of Greenland. The Greenland Perspective is a multi-national research initiative, with the aim of contributing to growth and development, namely employment, in Greenland. The benefit of this project for students is that part of the Greenland Perspective’s initiative is to contribute to education at all levels. They are doing this by contributing to educational material, involving university students in their projects and collecting and showcasing student publications that are relevant to the project’s themes. There are therefore plenty of research opportunities available for those students who do opt to do their studies in Greenland and the chance to make a difference to the future of the country.



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